Zenzontepec Chatino relative constructions display a range of nuanced syntactic differences. Some are syndetic, while others are asyndetic. Some are externally headed, while others have external light heads or are headless. Some display a gap strategy; others have relative pronouns; and a pronoun retention strategy may be used for disambiguation. While some of the differences are syntactic, being based on the syntactic function of the head in the relative clause, asyndesis and the cline of headedness are not based on syntax per se, but are largely driven by information structure and discourse, especially specificity and topicality. Thus the syntax of relative clauses is like much of the rest of the syntax of the language and cannot be well understood without considering data from natural discourse.
This chapter describes the word order typology involving the domain determiner phrase (DP) with respect to the relative clause in Tlaxcala Nahuatl. Tlaxcala Nahuatl exhibits externally-headed relative constructions in which the relative clause may precede, follow, or be discontinuous with respect to the domain DP. The latter case raises a question about how to show that discontinuous relative clauses are subordinated to the domain DP. In addition to the external head, in Tlaxcala Nahuatl the domain DP can also be located within the rc with or without the co-occurrence of a relative pronoun. This phenomenon can be accounted for by two possible analyses. The first one is that Tlaxcala Nahuatl has internally-headed relative constructions with particular features that are different from those described in the literature for this type of construction. The second analysis is that there are no relative constructions with internal heads and that the position of the domain DP within the rc is due to the fact that the relative constructions of Tlaxcala Nahuatl have non-configurational features. Under such a non-configurational analysis, the rc and the domain DP do not form a constituent at a syntactic level and they can be contiguous or discontinuous in any place of the complex DP with respect to the matrix sentence. In this chapter, I present evidence in favor of this second analysis.
Departing from a typology of heads, in this chapter I propose a typology of relative constructions in Q’anjob’al. Among the features of relative clauses discussed that are common to all Mayan languages are: they are finite, post-nominal with an external head; the use of the same interrogative expressions in questions, interrogative complements and relative clauses; and restrictions on the relativization of agent arguments. Taking into account both the form and the type of expression of the head, I show that Q’anjob’al has four types of relative clauses: (i) nominal-headed relative clauses that contain a nominal or a pronoun head; (ii) determiner-headed relative clauses that contain a determiner or a demonstrative as head; and (iii) headless relative clauses of two subtypes: free relatives, which are headless relative clauses exhibiting a relative pronoun based on a wh-word, and headless relative clauses with a gap. The four types of relative clauses differ in lexical and syntactic features, relativization strategies, and meaning.
Headed relative clauses in the Mixe-Zoquean languages display three of the major relativization strategies: i) gapping, ii) relative pronoun, and iii) non-reduction with internal head. The gapping strategy is widespread in all Mixe-Zoquean languages that exhibit both prenominal and postnominal relative clauses. The same strategy is also attested in adjoined relative clauses of both preposed and postposed types. The relative pronoun strategy is attested in all languages of the family and occurs in either postnominal or postposed relative clauses. The internally-headed relative clause strategy is a type of construction found in a restricted group of languages and exhibits some features that are typologically uncommon in other world’s languages that share this strategy. The gapping and the internally-headed strategies are basic in all the languages that have them, but the accessibility of the relative pronoun strategy varies much across the different members of the family. Several languages of both branches of the family convert extrathematic relations into core arguments via applicatives or preverbs when the arguments expressing these relations are relativized.
Tilapa Otomi (Oto-Manguean; Oto-Pamean; Otomian) has three types of relative clauses in headed relative constructions: (i) an asyndetic relative clause (i.e., a relative clause introduced by no subordinator); (ii) a rc introduced by a determiner that I argue works as a relativizer; and (iii) a relative clause introduced by a relative pronoun recruited from wh-words. Types (i) and (ii) use a gap relativization strategy, and they have a wide functional scope in the relativization hierarchy. Type (iii) only allows for who and where in headed relative constructions, and these constructions are remarkable for two reasons. On the one hand, the locative relative pronoun strategy based on where is the only construction that is available to relativize a locative adjunct. On the other hand, the relative clause based on who can only relativize a human subject and a human possessor, which is typologically surprising, although also found in Zenzontepec Chatino (see Campbell, this volume). All three types of relative clauses can be used as headless relative clauses with the addition of a fourth type involving a light head. In contrast to what happens in headed relative constructions, type (iii) involves a larger set of relative pronouns with a wider functional scope.
In this paper, I introduce a novel study of headed relative clauses with a full nominal head in Zoochina Zapotec, a Zapotec language of the Northern subgroup. The study focuses on the structural and morphosyntactic properties of headed relative clauses. I discuss the relativization strategies used in the language, namely, the gap strategy and the relative pronoun strategy, the latter derived from interrogative pronouns and pronominal classifiers with anaphoric functions. I also introduce the different syntactic roles for which there is access to relativization.
In this chapter, I offer the first description of restrictive headed relative constructions in Pesh, a Chibchan language spoken in Honduras. This language follows three relativization strategies: 1) internally-headed relative clauses in which the head nominal of the relative clause, which is a core argument or a genitive, occurs inside the relative clause. This is the most frequent and primary strategy in Pesh, as it is used to relativize subjects; 2) externally-headed relative clauses in which the head nominal, which has a peripheral role in the relative clause, occurs outside the relative clause, being represented in the relative clause by a gap; and 3) relative clauses introduced by a wh-word that functions as a relative; only locative wh-words piah ‘where’ and pikan ‘where, in which direction’ occur. The distribution of the three relative clauses in Pesh clearly responds to accessibility restrictions on specific functions. Further, this chapter explores the relation between relative strategies and degree of finiteness. Internally-headed relative clauses and externally-headed relative clauses are less finite and show some nominalized features in the scalar phenomenon of nominalization, since the marker that obligatorily occurs at the end of the relative construction in internally-headed relative clauses and at the end of the relative clause in externally-headed relative clauses is a case or the topic enclitic marker prototypically used at the end of noun and postpositional phrases. In contrast, relative clauses bearing a wh-word are most finite, and their subordinate feature is marked by a subordinator at the end of the verb.
In this chapter, we identify what constitutes the canonical profile of relative constructions in the Mesoamerican languages. We propose that the typical Mesoamerican relative clause is a morphosyntactic finite relative clause with a gap, but when the relativized position is that of locative, a relative pronoun is typically used (with this pattern reaching out beyond Mesoamerica). In our proposal, we have identified three structural traits that we take to be Mesoamerican: (i) relative clauses introduced by determiners which agree in deixis with the determiner of the DP in which the domain nominal of the relative clause is embedded; (ii) the so-called ‘pied-piping with inversion’ introduced by Smith-Stark (1988) for interrogatives that has percolated into relative clause structure; and (iii) headless relative clauses with a gap, that is, headless relative clauses where there is little indication as to the role of the relativized element.
In this chapter, I propose a typology of domain nominals in the relative constructions of San Miguel Chimalapa Zoque that helps to explain how the different relative constructions in this language are used attending to both scope of relativization and relativization strategy, of which there are three types (i.e., by a gap, by a relative pronoun and by an internal head). More specifically, I propose five different types of domain nominals: (i) full head; (ii) elided head; (iii) light head; (iv) determiner head; and (v) non overt domain nominal. All such domain nominals have been identified in the typological literature, except for the determiner head, which constitutes an important intermediary type between the elided head domain nominal and the light head.